IN SPITE of stringent laws and regulations, illegal timber trade is flourishing in South American Countries. Investigations carried out by the Amsterdam-based Friends of the Earth International
(FOEI) in Brazil, Cameroon and Paraguay have revealed that rampant illegal logging not only continues to threaten sustainable forest management, but also creates unfair competitive disadvantages for timber companies willing to respect laws and pay taxes.
In Brazil, timber concessions for mahogany are being misused to legalise timber coming from illegal sources, including Indian reserves and other protected areas. The FOEI study found that almost the entire Limber sector was operating outside or against the law. It has also exposed illegal logging in Paraguay besides violation of indigenous rights and illegal and cross-border timber traffic with Brazil. Contradictory laws and inadequate enforcement resources were also aiding and abetting unlawful activities in the timber sector in Cameroon.
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